He is turning into a big kid

The other day Zach asked to call his friend Logan on the phone. Weird, right? He is four, what could they possibly have to talk about? But I said, sure and set up a time that we could call him.

When the time came, I dialed the phone and handed it to Zach with the instructions to say, “Hi, may I please speak to Logan?” He managed it, though it was pretty mumbled. Good thing Kelley was expecting the call.

Once Logan got on the phone Zach took off running to his room to talk. Like he really needed privacy? I am certain the entire conversation went something like this:

Zach: “Hi Logan.”
Logan: “Hi Zach.”
Zach: “You are a poo poo head, smelly diaper!”
Logan: “You are a pee pee head, smelly diaper!”
Zach: “Bye.” And hangs up before the other person can reply.

Or something like that as those are both boys favorite words of the moment.

Check out that side eye he is giving me. 
He better watch it or I am going to start making him take calls on the house phone so I can listen in and make sure he is not trash talking me. Which he totally will be, have you seen how much of his life is on this blog?? 

I might be getting famous any second

You guys I was on the news. I know, I am going to be famous any minute. It is about time the media discovers my electric personality and biting wit. Except that is not what has happened. Instead, like the microphone whore I am, I was interviewed by the local NBC affiliate at the local YMCA after I had just finished running.

I really should have said no. I should have listened to the rational voice inside me and said, no, tiny blond woman with tons of makeup on, I do not wish to be interviewed right now. Instead I said, sure and reached for the microphone. No joke. I tried to take it out of her tiny, manicured hand.

Tiny blond was doing a story on a local restaurant that has a no child under 8 after 7pm policy and local mom’s thoughts on that. She also brought up an overseas airline’s new option of a child-free row. I talked for about 2 minutes on these topics (I am in support of both) and gave some nice soundbites such as  “I don’t want to eat with my children either.” and “if my husband and I want to go to a nice restaurant we want to enjoy our food – you can’t do that with kids.” I can’t imagine why those were not used.

The only sentence they used was this one:

“I think if there’s a special section where people can go and they don’t want to be disturbed, I think that’s more power to them,” said mom Kinsey Wall.

Have I ever been more eloquent?

Mortifying. 

Seriously, why can’t I help myself around a mic/camera? I am totally the lady in her house coat talking to the camera about the apartment fire next door. No makeup, looking the fool and just happy to be on camera.
You can see my red, red face and ponytail bobbing around in the clip below. 
Mortifying, but I figured you all would like a laugh this Monday morning. You are welcome, and you can find me near any news truck in town, ready to make a comment.

Don’t make a big deal; we just saw a celebrity

That is right; a for real TV celebrity. A tiny one, but we saw her. And took a photo.

It all started one afternoon when my friend Ashley and I were discussing The Little Couple during a play date at my house. Our children were playing house and doing whatever children do while their mother’s drink tea and talk about reality shows. We got to discussing how The Little Couple lives in Houston and we thought they lived somewhere close to me.

I said, “Let’s just HCAD them, surely they are listed”. But Ashley was smarter. She realized that TV personalities would never list a house in their names. And she was right. So I just Googled, “where does the Little Couple live in Houston?” and got this response from “watchdog” who calls himself/herself a “loyal viewer”:

Not far from the medical center off South Main in the neighborhood behind Target. I’m not posting the address, but it’s public information.

Dudes, that is right by me! And not public information; until now.
So we did what any responsible TV stalkers would do and threw all four children in my car and took off to canvas the neighborhood. I knew there were only two streets that ran through the entire area and Ashley knew they lived on a corner lot. We could totally do this. Please, I had years of stalking experience under my belt in Denton. I could cruise by an ex-boyfriend’s house via a cross street like a pro. Granted I didn’t have two four year old’s, an 18 month old and a two year old in the car. But I don’t drive a black SUV with tinted windows for nothing.
We were about half way through the search when I turned down a random street headed for the major intersection and suddenly there it was! The green house from the show! 

Naturally Ashley and I both started screaming like we were at a JT concert, causing all the children to do the same. It was very exciting. Ashley took a photo and we turned up the street headed for home.

As we approached the major intersection, Ashley claimed the car approaching us was her – Jen, the littlest of the little couple. I did not believe her and was wrong to ever doubt her knowledge of the show. It totally was her! So again, I did what any responsible TV stalkers would do and pulled a U turn and drove back to follow her home. We are nothing if not persistent.

We made it just as she was pulling in. More screaming ensued.

But don’t worry, we didn’t yell at her or hop out of the car. We just kept talking about it to ourselves, like normal stalkers.

And then I posted it here. I think we might have missed our calling as part of the paparazzi.

Why do I assume I can do things?

Like take the boys, alone on a (should be) 4.5 hour road trip to my parents house? Oh, I know why. Because other moms take their children on long plane flights, road trips, etc. and handle everything with such grace. I should really know that a person who calls her child an asshole can’t handle things with grace.

By the end of the trip I had announced I was no longer taking questions (but you have to, Mommy, you have to) and had basically yelled at James, “WHAT JAMES, WHAT?? I AM RIGHT HERE! YOU CAN SEE ME!” Not my finest hour(s).
I really thought it was going to be fine. Not good, not great, but fine. I really should have known better when Liv said to me, “Oh, I guess you can do that on your own.” The Wall’s never think twice about taking the boys anywhere so that really should have been my first clue.
I had so many things to do in the car. I had the iPad charged and ready (they fought over it), I had a magnetic dress up game (they fought over it), I had individual bags filled with cars, crayons, airplanes and brand new coloring books for use with the new car trays I made them.

Yes, those are perfectly good cookie sheets, Modgepoded with colored paper. Your eyes are not deceiving you. I saw it here and remembered the night before we left that I had purchased these cookies sheet months ago (as in about six months ago) and being the craft horder that I am, came across them during my clean out.

I obviously did not have time to spray paint them like she did, but I let the boys pick their paper color, traced the sticker that came with the sheets and got to work. 

And you all know I was sooooo proud of myself for having all the stuff and whipping these up.

What is the phrase, the pride goes first before the fall? Just give me a minute to really build it up for you.

Here are my sweet boys (an hour of out town) holding their trays and looking so happy that their mommy is so crafty.

This is also before I realize that the cookie sheets, though the smallest I could find, were still way too big for a two year old. James did not like the crayons all being on his table so he threw them each onto the floor then screamed for me to get them. To balance it on his legs he had to hold it with one hand. This meant that when he tried to play with the magnetic men they would slide around causing him to scream more. To summarize for you, there was a lot of James screaming at me in the car. A lot.

I will say that Zach loved it. He totally used it a ton and it was perfect. But when Zach was using it, James had to try to use it too. Terrible; it was a terrible, terrible idea. At one point I ripped it out of James’ hands, spewing crayons everywhere, and threw it on the passenger seat floor. Again. Not my finest hour(s).

My only good idea of the trip? Stopping at this park just off the highway in Centerville. We stopped both coming and going and it really helped us all to get out and run around. It made it slightly easier get back in the car. Only slightly.

But we made it. And we are all still speaking to each other though I did need some quiet time during James’ nap. I am slowly starting to forget the drive…but it is going to take a while.

Because Gwenie told me to

Ugh, you guys I made this tuna dish and had to tell you all about it. I really wanted to like it. And I liked it, but didn’t love it. It is super weird, with tuna, anchovies, rice pasta (like I know what that is) and it was created by Gwyenth Paltrow.

Since I, obviously, want to be just like her (but not with weirdly named kids) I just knew I would love it. I kept getting confused with the name, Brown Rice Pasta with Tuna, Olives and Fried Capers, thinking it was brown rice. It is not. She wanted me to buy “brown rice pasta” if I was “avoiding gluten”. I am not. I am in fact inviting gluten into my diet.

So once I finally realized I just needed regular pasta, I then had to buy 12 canned anchovy fillets, 2 – 8 oz jars of olive oil packed tuna and capers. Needless to say I spent an inordinate amount of time on the Canned Fish aisle of Randall’s. Who knew there were so many different varieties of tuna? Seriously, there are a ton.

But I pushed on. I just knew that I would like this because Gwenie said I would.

It is fairly straight forward once you get all the odd ingredients, though I think the 12 anchovy fillets were overkill. And I think one big can of tuna would also do just fine. Calm down Gwenie, I know we need Omega-3s but calm down.

I really debated about putting this here, but in the end I did like it. It was healthy, if salty, and had fried capers.

Oh, did I not mention that I fried capers?

So here it is with the swaps I will make when I cook it again. In like, two years.

Brown Rice Pasta with Tuna, Olives and Fried Capers
Photo courtesy of Self magazine

Ingredients
8 oz pasta
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and dried
1 can anchovy fillets
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large can olive oil-packed tuna, drained
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions

Cook pasta as directed on package until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes.
In a skillet over high heat, heat oil. Cook capers, stirring, until crispy, 2 minutes. Remove capers with a slotted spoon; transfer to a plate, reserving oil.
Heat reserved oil. Add anchovies, garlic and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until anchovies dissolve and garlic begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add tuna; stir to break up tuna. Add lemon juice; cook, stirring, until tuna is warmed through and starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
Divide pasta among 4 bowls; divide tuna mixture and capers evenly over pasta.

Simple Play

People want to know what we have been up to lately and the answer is simple. Playing in a box.

One Pottery Barn box containing a kid size chair that I really should have purchased when I bought the table. Why would I only get two chairs? Was I planning on making the boy’s friends stand up? Apparently I am a terrible hostess.

Anyway, I got the chairs in the mail last week and opened one of the up on Monday afternoon and it finally hit the trash a week later. Follow its path, won’t you?

First it was a TV complete with a Styrofoam remote color coded with channels for each of us.

Don’t worry, they still fought over who could “see more of the inside”.

Then it was a snack station complete with blanket for sitting and laying down.

Next, a boat with two steering wheels for the two drivers. Note the straws taped to the back; those are the motors of the boat. And mine. I was pretty annoyed with giving them up.


The box was also a rocket ship and tape was applied for no apparent reason. It was used as an excellent hide and seek location, though James really didn’t like Zach hiding himself in there. He likes to know where we all are, at all times. The Styrofoam was used for skate boards, with their chairs turned upside down as ramps. It was also used a chairs for the boat/rocket. They really used every part of that container.

The box finally met its demise on the seventh day of play when Alex let him take it in the pool of the water slide to see if it would float. I had already told him it would not due to the density of cardboard (see I was paying a bit of attention in science) but he wanted to see for himself. Which was perfect. It, of course, disintegrated but not before he and his friend Miles slapped each other with the parts of it.

Ummm but what are we going to do with ourselves this week? Don’t worry, I have another chair with an accompanying fun box to pull out. But next week I am screwed.

Martha nails it again

I just read this fascinating article about how Martha’s company is not doing well and she is terrible to work for but still takes a huge paycheck. Is anyone really surprised?

But man, that woman knows her chicken dishes. I like to try one new dish a week, to add something new to my rotation that might be the best thing ever. Or the easiest thing ever. This one, Spicy Peanut Chicken, is good and very, very easy.

Last time I went to Costco I purchased the huge bag of chicken tenders, which barely fits in my fridge. So instead of using the chicken thighs the recipe calls for, I used the tenders and cooked them for the same amount of time.

I just left out the sambal oelek when making the boys version (in the little Ziploc below) and they ate it all. Apparently we were all in the need of a new chicken dish. I put the chicken and sauces together the night before which makes it even easier. I all I had to do the next day for dinner was put it on a foil lined dish, put the (un-sauced) broccolini with a bit of olive oil on it next to the chicken and in 10 minutes dinner was ready.

Oh, do you not have your husband’s elementary academic excellence medals lying around your kitchen. Huh, that seems odd.